Replacing a starter rope on a gas engine
This is a typical recoil starter assembly for a
small gas engine. I know most carpenters and
contractors own and rent many pieces of
equipment powered with gas engines, and I
know that nearly all of you have broken the
starter rope and for some this is an
extensive operation to replace it. I am going
to simplify this procedure for you in this
First thing you do is to take the rope housing
off. Do not take the spring assembly apart.
Pull the old rope out of the wheel.
Take a 4” piece of 14 or 12 gage wire and
make a ¼” hook on the end of it as I have
below. Take a piece of cellophane tape and
wrap it tightly around the end of the rope
then cut the rope off at the end of the tape
and melt the end of the rope.
Now stab the hook in the end of the rope as
shown above and then bend the hook over
into the rope to make a tight fit.
Now take the recoil housing and backwind it
at least four rounds, you may need some help
to hold the recoil tight and then take the
rope, with the rope lock lined up with the hole
where the rope comes out, and insert the
wire thru the outside hole into the rope lock
Pull it through, cut the end of the rope off and
make a knot and push it down into the
Let the recoil off slowly and it will wind the
starter rope. Pull it out and let it recoil
several times then pull the rope out a couple
of inches and attach the rope handle. It’s a
good idea to oil the unit while you have it off.
If any of you have an easier way of doing this
let me know.
I have seen some recoil assemblies tore all to
pieces just to replace the rope.
Another thing I do is to always keep a couple
pieces of ¼x4’ long nylon rope in my tool box
for replacement ropes.
Bob Johnston, carpenter